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Advising & Curriculum Overview - Translation


Mentoring and advising are an essential part of the program. Students meet with faculty and the academic program director to ensure that educational goals and career learning and development goals are met. To learn more about the program, prospective students should contact the program director, Professor Shawn J. Parry-Giles via email: spg@umd.edu.

Admitted students are subject to the following program requirements:

  • Maintain minimum of 3.0 GPA and a B or better (including B-) for courses that are required.
  • File an approved Plan of Study by the first semester (full-time students).
  • Submit all work specified within an incomplete contract by end of the semester following the awarded incomplete unless otherwise specified in the incomplete contract.
  • Not found responsible for breaching ethical principles of scholarship (e.g., violations of academic integrity and/or intellectual property rights) or non-compliance of protocols for protection of human subjects.

Graduate Studies in Interpreting includes the GC-Consecutive Interpreting and the MPS-Interpreting with tracks in Conference or Public Service.  The Interpreting area of study offers regular instruction in high-demand languages, including Chinese, German, and Spanish.  Other languages can be accommodated. English must be either your native tongue or the primary acquired language.  Translation offers the GC-Translation and the MPS-Translation with tracks in Translation or Localization Project Management.  The GC-Consecutive Translation (21 credits) may be completed in one year of full-time study. The MPS-Translation may be completed in two years of full-time study: Translation track (44 credits); Localization Project Management Track (41 credits).  Part-time study is welcomed.

Instruction Overview, Year 1 (GC or MPS)

  • 21 credits of full-time core training in the fundamental skills of translation, translation for specific domains, translation studies, the translation profession, intercultural communication, and background knowledge in at least one of the following communication contexts: political communication, legal communication, health communication, or specific domains that correspond to demands of specific language markets.
  • Students enroll in a mix of required and elective courses for a total of 10-11 credits in each fall and spring semester.
  • Students who successfully complete the Graduate Certificate and wish to pursue the MPS, must first submit an application. You do not need to re-submit accompanying application materials, retake the Admissions Entry Tests, or pay the application fee if applying within a five-year period.

Instruction Overview, Year 2 (MPS)

  • 20-23 credits of advanced training in translation, training in computer-assisted translation tools, translation studies, intercultural communication, and advanced study in at least one of the following communication contexts: political communication, legal communication, or health communication.
  • Students enroll in a mix of required and elective courses for a total of 11-12 credits (Translation) or 9-10 credits (Localization) in each fall and spring semester.

The program features traditional seminar-style, in-person learning, offering a focused, distraction-free learning environment. 

Upon successful completion, graduates will have mastered the following competencies:

  • Perform as a translator in professional settings (e.g., effective use of time, tools, and resources for translation assignments, workload management, coordination and cooperation with colleagues, effective and constructive self-assessment of performance, ability to provide constructive peer feedback)
  • Use computer-assisted translation tools
  • Possess working knowledge on topics that characterize private and public-sector settings in the respective language combination
  • Understand the history, current developments, procedures and practices of representative organizations and institutions that provide or use interpreting services

Translation Track

Upon successful completion, graduates will have mastered the following competencies:

  • Perform as a translator in professional settings (e.g., effective use of time, tools, and resources for translation assignments, workload management, coordination and cooperation with colleagues, effective and constructive self-assessment of performance, ability to provide constructive peer feedback)
  • Use computer-assisted translation tools
  • Possess working knowledge on topics that characterize private and public-sector settings in the respective language pair
  • Understand the history, current developments, procedures and practices of representative organizations and institutions that provide or use translation services
  • Demonstrate theoretical knowledge of communication studies through fulfillment of a research requirement
  • Demonstrate exposure to a wide-range of topics covered in the private and institutional markets in the respective language pair

Localization Project Management Track

Upon successful completion, graduates will have mastered the following competencies:

  • Perform as a translator in professional settings (e.g., effective use of time, tools, and resources for translation assignments, workload management, coordination and cooperation with colleagues, effective and constructive self-assessment of performance, ability to provide constructive peer feedback)
  • Use computer-assisted translation tools
  • Possess working knowledge on topics that characterize private and public-sector settings in the respective language pair
  • Understand the history, current developments, procedures and practices of representative organizations and institutions that provide or use translation services
  • Demonstrate knowledge of translation and localization project management
  • Manage communication and language services programs

Translation conducts the following comprehensive assessments and all testing reflects authentic, real-world translation requirements to the greatest possible degree, unless the test purpose or stage of translation acquisition makes modifications or deviations from real-world contexts essential. The topics of all tests are from current events and topical, cultural, or scientific issues widely discussed in the U.S. or international media, or the fields of health, law, or politics. The materials used in all tests are authentic materials and recordings from settings and text types frequently encountered by translators working in the fields of business, health, law, politics, and science and technology.

Second Year MPS Degree-track Entry Test:

  • For the MPS only. Prior to enrolling in second-year courses, all students admitted into the MPS-Translation must perform successfully on entry tests in one of the two tracks: Translation or Localization Project Management.  Degree-track Entry Tests determine whether students have the ability in their proposed language combinations to begin the specialized coursework required. Students submit a representative sample of introductory second-year translation coursework under examination conditions. Upfront payment of the $120 nonrefundable Degree-track Entry Tests fee is required.
  • Submit payment for the Second Year MPS Degree-track Entry Test fee ($120).

Degree Examinations:

  • For the MPS only. Administered as part the required course COMM637 Professional Practice Forum in Translation: Career Portfolio and Exams, degree examinations determine whether students have the translator competence in their proposed language combinations to enter into the profession at a distinguished level, particularly through taking employer tests required for staff and freelance translation work and tests for professional certification.

Career Portfolio Review:

  • For the MPS only. The portfolio is part of the coursework for COMM637 Professional Practice Forum in Translation: Career Portfolio and Exams, a required course, and conducted after the degree examinations. The purpose is to determine whether students have the career strategies in their proposed language combinations to enter into the profession at a distinguished level, in particular through career goal setting and planning for future employment. The portfolio is a career development tool that students can use to seek and find translation work.
    • Scope and content: Includes documentation of a broad range of learning experiences in the field. Representative documents include biographical information such as résumés and curricula vitae, reflective statements of learning experiences from class assignments, internships and tests; peer, instructor, and employer (internship) feedback; and statements of career goals and career development strategies.
    • Review: Conducted with a panel of instructors and professional translators that may include representatives of employer organizations. The review is an opportunity to discuss career goals and long-term professional development plans based upon the contents of the portfolio, performance in the final degree examinations, and employer needs and hiring requirements.
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